New reports indicate that the Bronx man who drove into a Times Square crowd, killing one woman and injuring 22 people, had been using marijuana Thursday before the incident.
Police said the Times Square devastation began at about 12:45 p.m. when the maroon Honda sedan Rojas was driving zoomed up Seventh Avenue in the wrong direction, then made a U-turn onto the sidewalk. The car drove on the sidewalk for three blocks before crashing into a pole.
After the car stopped, Rojas ran through the crowd screaming, witnesses said, before police, aided by bystanders, were able to subdue Rojas.
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“He was driving like a madman and screaming,” said eyewitness Michael Rickerby, 24, a tourist from Tennessee.
“It looked like he was trying to hit people,” Rickerby said. “He had the angriest, craziest face and he was literally going after people.”
After the car came to rest with two wheels off the ground, Rojas “got out of his car and started trying to punch people and tackle people,” Rickerby said.
Witness Annie Donahey, 24, agreed that Rojas did not try to avoid pedestrians.
“It looked like he was trying to hit them,” she said. “He wasn’t trying to go back on the street.”
“There was a guy on the windshield, along for the ride, but he kept on going. A girl who was next to me a moment ago, she was on the floor on her back,” she said.
“It was the sounds of bodies being hit, then came the screams,” she added. “People were jumping out of the way, but he just kept going. Then there was silence for what seemed to be a really long time, then the screaming returned. There were bodies covered in blood.”
In 2008 and in 2015 Rojas was arrested for DWI.
Officials said they had ruled out terrorism as a cause of the incident.